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by Slow Food USA staffer Patrick Keeler

On Friday, January 23rd, I spent the work day observing the taping of five soon-to-be-released webcasts at the Bon Appetit magazine Test Kitchen in Times Square.

Last summer, Slow Food USA teamed up with cookware giant Anolon to help get the word out about Slow Food to new audiences. As part of this partnership–in addition to a sustainable chef and farmer calendar you may have seen in Gourmet magazine late last year–Slow Food USA helped to secure a couple of our favorite go-to talents for the filming of five webcasts about seasonal, sustainable cooking for the home chef. Chef Bill Telepan of Telepan restaurant here in New York on the Upper West side and Chef Galen Zamarra of Mas (farmhouse) in the Village were invited to Bon Appetit magazine’s culinary studio and test kitchen, where they were joined by Jonathan Lindenauer – Bon Appetit’s chef de maison for the taping of these webcasts.

It comes with the territory that NYC chefs get to chat with other celebrated local chefs on the rare occasions they are released from their own kitchen duties, so it was refreshing to watch Bill and Galen interact in an otherwise foreign kitchen. The concept: a four-course meal featuring locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, followed by a segment of the three chefs sitting down to enjoy their creations and talk shop about “Slow” home cooking. In the videos which will soon be available for viewing, Bill Telepan prepared a lovely herb-stuffed leg of lamb with a confit of heirloom beans. The was preceded by Jonathan’s butternut squash soup with pancetta and ginger snap crumbs and an appetizer of diver scallops on a bed of caramelized cauliflower puree. Rounding out the meal was Galen Zamarra’s heirloom apple tarte fine with caramel sauce.

Working at the Slow Food USA national office comes with a few perks, but as a former urban farmer and current “development dude, ” visiting the set of tele-kitchen was a first for me. I must say, there’s a lot more that goes into the taping of Paula, Rachel, Jamie and Martha than meets the eye – the viewer isn’t privileged to see the numerous retakes as the chefs stumble over their words, the make-up artist re-applies foundation to a sweating brow, the prep cooks (and me) in the side kitchen make too much background noise and ruin the take, and the “food artist” steps in to arrange the finished product so it looks appetizing (this could be a simple garnish or an inedible glaze of sorts). I truly appreciated observing the film crew yelling “wait, wait, wait!” every time one of the chefs got ready to slice into or blend a near-finished product – you get one shot, or you wait another hour for another leg of lamb. I even got to play “director” once or twice, guiding the chefs on which Slow Food USA talking points to emphasize here and there.

We’re anxious to see the finished, polished product (and hopefully they edited out my talking in the background just that once!) We’ll let you know when you can check out the webcasts; stay tuned….and…